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Marco Polo features Flavors of Mindanao in Independencia culinary festival

From durian rice cakes to fish stewed in turmeric to slow-cooked beef in burnt coconut broth, an interesting and delicious range of dishes with Moro and lumad heritage are on the menu in Café Marco at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

The dishes are made available as part of Flavors of Mindanao, this year’s Independencia Culinary Journey from June 7 to 12.

PIYALAM is a Tausug dish of stewed fish with turmeric.

PIYALAM is a Tausug dish of stewed fish with turmeric.

Independencia is a celebration of the food of the Philippines, said Marco Polo Plaza Cebu General Manager Brian Connelly.

“We’ve featured cuisine in the past seven years from heroes of the country, actually also from the president himself who signed the proclamation. Last year, we did food of northern Philippines. This year we wanted to go south. And we wanted to do this in conjunction with our sister hotel in Davao, the Marco Polo Davao,” Connelly said during the opening last Friday.

“It’s part of our experience here in Marco Polo to share cuisine of different parts of the world, of different parts of the region, as well as different parts of our country. We’ve got this wide range of food and this year, it’s southern Philippines – Mindanao,” he said.

Chef Alex Destriza

Chef Alex Destriza

The executive chef of Marco Polo Davao has been studying the dishes for 2-3 years.

Marco Polo Davao Executive Chef Alex Destriza and Chef King James Tinio worked with the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu team of Executive Chef Juanito Abangan to create the menu.

Destriza said native Mindanao cuisine is divided into that of the Moros and lumads. The region is rich in rice and coconuts and they figure prominently in their cuisine. An example of this is the Tausug dish Tiyulah Itum, where beef is slow cooked in a broth made of burnt coconut meat.  The use of burnt coconut meat in the preparation of the food is widespread and includes dishes with chicken, beef, and fish, he said.

TIYULAH ITUM is a Tausug dish of slow-cooked beef in burnt coconut broth.

TIYULAH ITUM is a Tausug dish of slow-cooked beef in burnt coconut broth.

Many of the dishes, including Tiyulah Itum, are cooked in bamboo, a process that intensifies the flavors, Destriza said. The Marco Polo chefs just improvised to adapt the preparation in a modern kitchen and experimented with the cooking methods.

Coconut and rice also figure prominently in the desserts of the different communities with such treats as durian rice cake and a ball made of camote with bukayo or sweetened coconut meat strips filling.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu General Manager Brian Connelly

OPENING. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu General Manager Brian Connelly welcomes guests to the opening of Independencia.

Destriza said he has been researching these dishes for two to three years. These are served mostly during special occasions like weddings and are rarely available outside their communities or region. He said, however, that slowly, the food is being introduced in other places of the country. Marco Polo Davao, for example, has a halal station with these dishes.

The dishes are available on top of the regular international lunch and dinner buffet spread at Café Marco until June 12. Lunch buffet rate is P1,300, while dinner is P1,600. For reservations, you can contact (+6332) 253 1111, email [email protected].com or link them up on Facebook or Twitter.

More photos of Flavors of Mindanao

Kulma baka

KULMA BAKA is Tausug dish of beef stewed in coconut milk.

Piassak

PIASSAK is cow liver cooked with burnt coconut.

Piyanggang manok

PIYANGGANG MANOK is a Tausug dish of grilled chicken in burnt coconut.

Riyandang kambing

RIYANDANG KAMBING is a Lanao dish of mutton with coconut and spices.

Piyaren Udang

PIYAREN UDANG is a Lanao dish of prawn with sauteed coconut.

Palapa

PALAPA is made of ginger and other spices that is then roasted.

Agal agal

Agal agal

Guava membrillo

Guava membrillo

Kagikit manok

Kagikit na manok

Kagikit na isda

Kagikit na isda

Kamatis patis
Kamias ug dayap

Kamias ug dayap

Kiyuning golden rice

Kiyuning golden rice

Pan-Pan Kamote
Pan-Pan Kamote

PAN-PAN KAMOTE has bokayo or sweetened coconut meat strips as filling.

Pan-pan monggo

Pan-pan monggo

Wadjet makadurian durian rice cake

WADJET MAKADURIAN is durian rice cake.

Daral sweet coconut pancake

DARAL or sweet coconut grating pancake.

Tuna ceviche

KINILAW na tuna or tuna ceviche.

Talong sa gata

Talong sa gata

Pomelo green papaya with prawns salad

Pomelo green papaya with prawns salad

MARCO POLO CHEFS. Marco Polo Davao Executive Chef Alex Destriza (center) talks about the dishes they prepared as part of Flavors of Mindanao. With him are Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Executive Chef Juanito Abangan (left) and Marco Polo Davao Chef King James Tinio.

MARCO POLO CHEFS. Marco Polo Davao Executive Chef Alex Destriza (center) talks about the dishes they prepared as part of Flavors of Mindanao. With him are Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Executive Chef Juanito Abangan (left) and Marco Polo Davao Chef King James Tinio.

Categories
Food

Marco Polo features Indian cuisine with Khana Culinary Journey

Palak paneer or spinach curry with cheese, spicy chickpeas dish of chana masala, teardrop-shaped bread called nan, heavenly desserts gajar halva and jalebi, and other Indian specialties are available up to November 15 at five-star hotel Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

To celebrate the Hindu festival of lights known as Diwali, Cafe Marco is serving authentic Indian cuisine for lunch and dinner in a special culinary treat called Khana.

Marco Polo Khana Indian cuisine pickled vegetables
These pickled vegetables are very spicy.

 

Indian food is influenced by history, geography, culture, caste and soil so it’s not unusual for taste to vary in the different regions but at its core is the use of several common spices, said Indian Embassy First Secretary of Commercial and Education Narayanan Ramakrishnan.

“The beauty of Indian cuisine is in the different flavors and tastes coming to your mouth from the interplay of such spices as turmeric, chili, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns. Since a lot of Indians are into vegetarianism, we have to make food interesting without the meat,” he said.

Palak Paneer is a spinach-based dish.
Palak Paneer is a spinach-based dish.

 

Khana Culinary Journey

According to Ramakrishnan, Cafe Marco’s Khana is an excellent initiative, the quality of food served is “quite good,” and he’s happy to see a large crowd enjoying the fare.

He said culinary activities like Khana corrects the common misconceptions about Indian fare, chiefly that it is all curry and too spicy.

For the Khana event, Marco Polo Cebu secured the help of Judeline L. Murjani, a Cebuana married to an Indian national and the mother of former Miss Cebu Namrata Neesha, in compiling a list of dishes to include in the Cafe Marco menu.

Falooda Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Culinary Journey
Falooda is a scrumptious dessert made from, among other ingredients, rose water, tapioca pearls and vermicelli.

 

Cooking passion

Murjani, who has been married for 31 years, said cooking is her passion and she has been doing it since she was a child. Having been introduced to chili at an early age by her father, she said she did not find it difficult to love Indian food.

She learned to prepare Indian dishes from her husband whom she described as a good cook. “I teach him to cook Filipino food, he teaches me how to do Indian dishes,” she said.

Khana Culinary Journey opening
KHANA OPENING. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Julie Najar (5th from left), former Miss Cebu Namrata Neesha Murjani, First Secretary Narayanan Ramakrishnan, and culinary consultant Judeline Murjani along with Sandiego dancers lead the opening of Khana Culinary Journey, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s Indian cuisine festival.

 

From today up to November 15, get your fill of popular Indian cuisine like shahi paneer, palak paneer, bamgan bharta and aloo, gobi matar massala in three cycles during lunch or dinner at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s Cafe Marco.

This buffet treat comes at the net price of P1,099 for the lunch and P1,345 for dinner. Call Marco Polo Plaza Cebu at (+6332) 253-1111 for reservations or inquiries.

More photos of the Khana Culinary Journey launch:

You must try the Prawns Biryani.
You must try the Prawns Biryani.

 

Chana masala Marco Polo Khana culinary journey

Khana culinary journey dessert

khana-marco-polo-gajar-halva

Jalebi
Jalebi

 

Sandiego dancers lead the opening with a colorful and synchronized number.
RANGOLI. Sandiego dancers lead the opening with a colorful and synchronized number in front of a rangoli in the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu lobby.

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Khana Neesha Murjani
DIWALI CEREMONY. Former Miss Cebu Namrata Neesha Murjani joins a lighting ceremony to mark Diwali or the festival of lights and the opening of Khana in Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

Categories
Feature Food

Marco Polo Cebu highlights food of the revolution in Independencia culinary journey

To celebrate the 117th Philippine Independence Day, Cafe Marco at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu presents the food of the revolution in a culinary journey called Independencia.

All throughout Independencia: A Tribute to Our Filipino Heroes, which will run up to June 20, Cafe Marco will carry dishes that have been around for centuries and favorites of such notable personalities as Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, and Emilio Aguinaldo.

“We thought about what the situation was during that time (1896 revolution) and the commonalities in their areas. What were the abundant food in the community? If they were near rivers or coastlines, then it would be seafood. The revolutionaries would need food they could easily carry in case they need to leave immediately,” said Marco Polo culinary consultant Jessica Avila.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Independencia: A Tribute to Our Filipino Heroes
REBEL FLAVOR. Among the highlights of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s Independencia buffet is roasted chicken flavored with sampaloc or tamarind leaves and wrapped in banana bark. The bark also acts as the chicken container in case the revolutionaries find themselves needing to flee their hiding place.

One of the showcase of the Cafe Marco buffet during Independencia is the roasted chicken flavored with sampaloc or tamarind leaves and wrapped in banana bark.

The bark also acts as the chicken container in case the revolutionaries find themselves needing to flee their hiding place.

Revolutionary favorites

Like other Marco Polo culinary journeys, the dishes of the Philippine revolution are in addition to the regular buffet offerings.

They include food preferences of Filipino heroes and revolutionaries, such as the tinolang manok with chili leaf of Jose Rizal, pocherong manok of Marcelo H. del Pilar, bulanglang soup and monggo soup with bagnet of Apolinario Mabini, asparagus soup of Emilio Aguinaldo, asadong baka of Antonio Luna, arroz ala cubana of Gregorio del Pilar, and adobong baboy sa dilaw of Marcella Agoncillo.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu culinary journey
KINILAW. This local favorite is part of the buffet spread.

Cafe Marco offers two menu cycles in Independencia with around 30 different dishes per cycle.

For starters and salads, diners have their choice of any one or more of inbaliktad, mani ken dilis, smoked milkfish cake with local white cheese, mushroom adobo terrine, inartem assorted pickles, itlog maalat with onions and tomatoes, grilled buffalo cheese with cashews, and kinilaw two-ways of tuna loin and grilled pork.

In another cycle, they can have chicken galantina serve with mustard mayonnaise, sinarabasab or pork ceviche, isda tinap-anan with tamatis, bombay, coconut, vinegar (smoked fish salad), kilawin na kanding (goat meat ceviche), green mango with bagoong and crispy bagnet, smoked bangus cake with Cebu mango salsa, kinilaw na tangigue na may sinugbang quesong puti (fish ceviche with grilled cheese), and lechon adobo terrine with Mang Tomas sarsa.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu culinary journey
FOR STARTERS, how about saging cardaba and sweet potato slices with bagoong?

Independencia menu

The carving station carries crispy pata, Cebu lechon, lechon manok in banana bark, grilled giant squid plus roast beef for dinner during weekdays and for both lunch and dinner during Saturdays and Sundays.

Other offerings for one cycle: asadong baka, adobong baboy, pocherong manok, arroz ala cubana, hamonadong sugpo, bringhe sa gata, pancit Ilocos, and Bicol express. In another cycle, the buffet can have kalderita (braised goat meat with tomatoes and pimentos), nilasing na itik sa tuba (duck braised in coconut wine), igado (braised pork innards), ginataang lambay sa gata at gabi (braised sea-crab in coconut milk), Waray chicken pork adobo, paella arroz valenciana, and pinakbet with the special Marco Polo bagoong.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu culinary journey
Native biscuits for dessert.

Soups can be tinolang manok with chili leaf and monggo with bagnet or bulanglang and asparagus.

The best lunch or dinner ends with the sweetest desserts and Cafe Marco has a whole display of pastries and local delicacies. You can have your cakes and cookies or saging cardaba and sweet potato slices dipped in latik or local choco syrup.

Can’t wait to try Cafe Marco’s Independencia: A Tribute to Our Filipino Heroes buffet? Call Marco Polo Plaza Cebu at (+6332) 253-1111 for reservations or inquiries.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Independencia
Independencia: A Tribute to Our Filipino Heroes will carry dishes that have been around for centuries and are favorites of Filipino heroes as Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, and Emilio Aguinaldo.